“Roots: The Gift” is the disguised “journey” convention in a TV movie

ABC slogan “Roots: The Gift”

No one may have known him at the time, but the TV movie “Roots: The Gift” was actually one of the Star Trek conventions… before most of his talent ever worked on Star Trek or actually attended the convention. “Roots: The Gift” premiered on ABC on December 11, 1988, according to the Internet Movie Database. The Christmas-themed film was followed by the network’s groundbreaking 1977 mini-series Roots, based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of the American Family, and won nine Emmy Awards. A detailed look at the Internet Movie Database entry reveals that more than a dozen “Trek” actors or crews took part in Roots: The Gift.

AlexHaley.com includes the following summary of Roots: The Gift: “In December 1775, Cletus Moyer (Avery Brooks) is a free black citizen in colonial America in the North to help slaves escape captivity. In the days just before Christmas, a group of Bounty hunters led by Hattie Caraway (Kate Mulgrew) apprehend Muir. Because of his capture, dozens of slaves who have already left their plantations are in danger of being captured. Cletus Muir begs two slaves from a nearby plantation to replace him: Kunta Kinte (Liver Burton), an adult Mandinka Twenty-year-old who was captured in what is now Gambia, a country in West Africa, violinist (Louis Gosset. Jr.), an older man born in captivity. Konta is eager to help (and escape himself), but Fiedler doesn’t want to. That is, he is afraid of the consequences if they are caught.

Scenes from “Roots: The Gift” play the video

According to the Internet Movie Database, in addition to Burton, Brooks, and Mulgrew, other Star Trek actors and behind-the-scenes talents who have worked on Roots: The Gift include Jerry Hardin, Fran Bennett, Tim Ross, and Jimmy F. James McIntyre, Gerald Fried, John A. Alonzo, Dodi Shepherd, Julia Walker, and Greg Barbanel. Their contributions to Star Trek included in all cases according to Memory Alpha, StarTrek.com, or the Internet Movie Database:

LeVar Burton (actor): Burton reprized his breakthrough role as Kunte Kinte in Roots: The Gift. The TV movie aired in 1988 during the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton played Jordi La Forge throughout the series’ seven seasons, as well as four features from “TNG,” and it was confirmed that he reprized the character during the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard. Burton has also directed episodes of “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise.”

Kate Mulgrew (actor): The actress tried to play Hattie Caraway in Roots: The Gift. She played Captain Catherine Janeway during the seven-year series Star Trek: Voyager, and voiced Janeway (or Mirror Janeway) in Star Trek: Elite Force, Star Trek: Legacy, and Star Trek Online. Former Admiral Janeway on the ‘Borg Invasion 4D’ tour of the Star Trek Experience and lends his voice to Janeway’s hologram in the new ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ animated series.

Avery Brooks (actor): Brooks starred in Roots: The Gift as Cletus Moyer. Benjamin Sisco has played in all seven seasons of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and voiced characters in the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Harbinger” and “Star Trek: Legacy” games.

Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew in “Roots: The Gift”

Jerry Hardin (Actor): This veteran actor starred in Roots: The Gift as Dr. William Reynolds. He starred several times in “Star Trek”, playing Radue in “When the TNG Branch Breaks”, Samuel Clemens in “TNG”, “The Arrow of Time” and “The Arrow of Time Part II” and Neria in ” The Arrow of Time.

Fran Bennett (actor): A veteran whose career spanned from the 1950s to 2021, Bennett starred as Mamie Mae in Roots: The Gift. Her “Trek” work included the role of Fleet Admiral Shanthi in the “Next Generation” movie “Redemption II”. She also played midwife Vulcan in a scene cut from Star Trek (2009), but can be seen on DVD and Blu-ray Special Editions. According to Memory Alpha, she passed away in 2021.

Tim Ross (actor): The actor starred opposite Marcellus in Roots: The Gift. Ross starred as Devor in “Starship Mine” “TNG”, T’Kar in “DS9” “Invasive Actions” and an unnamed lieutenant named Enterprise-B in “Generations”.

Jimmy F. Skaggs (Actor): Skags starred in Roots: The Gift as Scarvie. A few years later, he guest starred as Glenn Bohica in the “Deep Space Nine” episode “The Wire” and provided the voice for several characters in the video game “Star Trek: Away Team.” According to Memory Alpha, he died on July 6, 2004 at the age of 59.

James McIntyre (actor): McIntyre played Gopal in Roots: The Gift. A year later, he guest starred as Haley in the “Who Watch the Watchers” episode “TNG”. Halley was a Mintakan fisherman and a member of the Nuria community in Mintaka 3 in the year 2366.

Gerald Freed (composer): He has composed music for nearly 200 films and television shows, and has won an Emmy nomination and an Academy Award, according to StarTrek.com. The official website said that Fried composed the music for the episodes “TOS”, “Shur Ajaza”, “Catspao”, “Friday’s Child”, “Amoc Time” and “Paradise Syndrome”, adding that musical excerpts from these episodes were used by the production in another 18 episodes. .

John A. Alonzo (Cinematographer): Alonzo was an Emmy Award winner and director of photography, according to IMDB, the cinematographer for Star Trek Generations. He died on March 13, 2001 at the age of 66.

Dodi Shepherd (fashion designer): Memory Alpha describes Shepard as an “Emmy-nominated fashion designer and wardrobe manager. She was responsible for the costumes for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the costume designer for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

Julia Walker (hairstylist): According to IMDB, Walker is a longtime assistant hairstylist and hair stylist who has worked as Whoopi Golberg’s hairstylist on several films and shows, including “Rat Race” and “Star Trek Nemesis.”

Greg Barbanel (Foley artist): Barbanel, according to IMDB, is a seasoned Foley artist with 578 credits and count. He worked on the video game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.

Roots: The gift is available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video.

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